It's quite likely you'll be seeing at least one of these relatives in the coming weeks.
1. The Nosey Aunt
Every family has a meddling aunt who wants to know why you aren’t married yet, or when you’re having a baby, or when you’re going to quit that coffee shop and get a real job. She has no qualms about asking personal questions, and is just as liberal with spreading gossip.
Tip for survival – Give vague answers and keep the peace as best you can. Smile and nod.
2. The Political Uncle
Dominating the conversation, he will never fail to add his two cents on how he feels about what some politician, local or foreign, is doing. He believes he can run this country better, and will tell you in great detail how.
Tip for survival – Keep your head down and don’t you dare disagree with him. Maybe attempt to change the subject to something lighter to avoid confrontation.
3. The Can-Do-No-Wrong Sibling
They are charming, intelligent, accomplished, and successful. He or she just sits at the table like an angel, while your parents go on and on about how proud they are, while you feel like the ghost of Christmas past.
Tip for survival – Siblings need to stick together. While you might not always get the praise, don’t let petty jealousy ruin a good family meal.
4. The Honourary Member
This “relative” isn’t really a relative at all. It’s the neighbour, friend or colleague your family has invited for dinner because they are alone during the holidays.
Tip for survival – There’s no need to feel awkward. Treat this person like family and welcome them with open arms.
5. The Misbehaving Little Cousin
From running around to knocking over drinks to talking with his mouth full, your little cousin is a Tasmanian devil who destroys everything in his path. He’s hopped up on candy canes and mad with holiday excitement! Watch out!
Tip for survival – Instead of handing him a video game controller, take him outside to let loose! If there’s snow, have him build a fort or a snowman. The fresh air will do him good, and there’s less to destroy outside.
6. The Boa Constrictor
This is the family member who is a thin as a rail, but somehow manages to go for second or third helpings, and that’s not even including dessert. After dinner he will sneak away and fall asleep on a couch somewhere.
Tip for survival – Be quiet in his presence, you don’t want to wake him!
7. The Festive Mom
Dressed in a holiday sweater, unironically, mom is just bursting with holiday cheer. You can hear her coming because she literally jingles as she walks. She’s baked 10 different kinds of cookies, prepared an amazing turkey and ham, and has the Christmas tunes blasting throughout the house.
Tip for survival – Don’t be a Scrooge and join in the fun.
8. The Embarrassed Teenager
Complete with acne and a permanent scowl, the embarrassed teenager at your table thinks everything everyone does and says is sooooooooooo embarrassing. They roll their eyes, are too cool for everything, and spend the meal texting.
Tip for survival – Consider banning cellphones from the dinner table, but unless you want to start a fight during the holidays, it’s best to just let them be and release them from your company as soon as dinner is over.
9. The Lone Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-free Relative
They will sit at the table with a pile of carrots and green beans and nothing else. When asked if that’s enough for them, they’ll sigh and say, “No, this is fine.”
Tip for survival – Make sure you have a meal prepared for them to ensure they have a nutritious dinner as well, and not stuck eating only side dishes.
10. The Ailing Grandparent(s)
They arrive with their walkers, canes and caddy full of pills. Topics of conversation with them will include: latest aches and pains, new medications they’re on, who’s died recently, and complaints about young people.
Tips for survival – Hug them, tell them you love them, and listen to their stories – even if you’ve heard them a hundred times.